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Concupiscence

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Definition:   The human inclination toward sin and evil. In Catholicism, the original sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the weakening or wounding of the human nature. Due to this weakening, we have a nature that is “subject to ignorance, suffering, and the domination of death; and inclined to sin” (CCC 405). Through the sacrament of Baptism, the Catholic receives the life of Christ’s grace, has their original sin erased, and turns back to God. However, the inclination toward sin remains. Through cooperative human effort and the infusion of the sacramental graces of the Catholic Church, the effects of concupiscence can be gradually overcome so that a Catholic can become inherently good enough for heaven.

Discussion: The Bible says that the original sin of Adam led to his spiritual death, not wounding (Gen. 2:17). As Adam’s offspring, we are born spiritually dead (Eph. 2:6). It is not through the Catholic sacrament of Baptism that we are given the ability to eventually overcome concupiscence and become inherently righteous. Rather, it is through the sovereign quickening of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:5) that we are given spiritual life and the imputed righteousness of Jesus. By this perfect righteousness we qualify for heaven when we trust in the Savior, and this righteousness cannot be lost (Rom. 8:30).

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